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Asthma inhalers

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There are different types of asthma inhalers and your doctor might suggest any of the following depending upon your need, convenience and age. Check them out



Nebulizers are very easy to use. They are mostly given to children who find difficulty using other devices. The medicine is delivered into the device is in liquid form which is transformed into mist with the compressor device and is then inhaled into the lungs. The latest technology is a jet nebulizer and ultrasonic nebulizers.

Medicines delivered via nebulizers include Corticosteroids and Bronchodilators such as salbutamol and sometimes a combination with ipratropium. 

How to use: Assemble the device as directed by your doctor or as mentioned in the instruction.

You need to take in the mouthpiece and grip is properly with your lips. You have to breathe for10-15 minutes to ensure that the medicine is delivered completely inside your lungs. Take the precautions as given to avoid oral infections.


Metered dose inhalers

Metered dose inhalers or MDIs are aerosols where the medicine for asthma comes out as mist. The complete dose of the medicines needs to be delivered from the inhaler which requires you to learn the inhalation technique. Some common medicines used in Metered Dose Inhalers are lbuterol/salbutamol, beclomethasone, budesonide, fenoterol, fluticasone, ipratropium bromide, salmeterol, etc.

The device is actually a plastic canister which contains the medicine. It will have a mouthpiece for delivering the medicine orally. Some meter dose inhalers come with additional equipment – the holding chamber. It has an open end for attaching the mouthpiece, which delivers the medicine.

How to use: Read the instructions carefully before using the inhaler.

Open the seal of the MDI and shake it properly. Once you are prepared, breathe out and then take the mouthpiece of the inhaler inside your mouth and hold it properly with your lips. Press the canister fully. The medicine will be delivered inside your mouth. Breathe in gently but deeply and hold on for 10 seconds to allow the medicine reach your airways. Repeat the puffs as directed by your doctor.


Metered dose inhalers with spacers

Often people find it difficult to follow the technique correctly for delivering medicine with metered dose inhaler and due to insufficient dosage the asthma may not be managed properly. Thus, this type of MDI comes with a spacer which is a vessel or a long tube designed for holding your medicine after it is released from the mouthpiece of your inhaler. It offers you more time to breathe in and your medicine reaches your lungs appropriately without lingering in your throat.

Some common medicines delivered via this device are salbutamol, ciclesonide, fluticasone, cromoglycate, sodium cromoglycate, beclomethasone, etc.

How to use: Learn how to assemble the mouthpiece in the spacer before using it with your doctor’s help.

You have to insert the inhaler in one end of spacer and release the medicine by pressing the canister. Breathe out and then take the mouthpiece of the spacer inside your lips. Grab it with your lips. Now press the top of the inhaler once again and breathe in deeply. Hold your breath for 10 seconds and then release.


Dry powder inhalers

Dry powder inhaler (DPI) is completely different from metered dose inhalers. DPI is just a hand-held device which only contains the medicines in dry powdered form. There are no propellants or any other additional devices attached to it. The medicine is delivered directly into your lungs as you initiate breathing.

The two variants of DPIs are: powder disk inhaler and a single-dose powder disk inhaler’; they usually deliver corticosteroids to your lungs.

How to use: As always, read the instructions carefully or take a demonstration from your doctor before using it.

You must know that the device should be emptied and the medicine must be delivered in to your lungs from in one or two breaths. So take a deep breath and exhale air first.  Unlike, MDIs, you don’t have to coordinate your breathing with time; rather you have to inhale and exhale quickly into the mouthpiece of the device. 

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: August 04, 2014

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